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‘Indie’ star builders

By Ronald Constantino

FEEDBACK – Highspeed’s items on movie studios as star builders in the ‘70s and ‘80s and up to the early ‘90s elicited this feedback. Which is: Outside major studios like Seiko, Viva, and Regal, there were “indie” star builders, in a manner of speaking. Director Lino Brocka and producer Jesse Ejercito were named.

Piolo Pascual

This column has written about them in the past, but perhaps a “reminder” is in order if only to inform readers of the achievements of direk Lino and Papa Jesse.

BROCKA – Let’s start with Brocka. Consider the actors he launched to stardom: Christopher de Leon, Bembol Roco, Phillip Salvador – three of the most acclaimed names in Philippine cinema.

Allan Paule didn’t really make it big, but then he turned out to be a fine character actor.

While Brocka didn’t build up or discover actresses, the likes of Gina Alajar, Lorna Tolentino, Snooky Serna, Hilda Koronel started with him.

Brocka directed Charito Solis and Lolita Rodriguez onscreen and onstage. He often cast Anita Linda, Mona Lisa, Eddie Garcia, Mario O’Hara, Laurice Guillen, Nida Blanca, Gloria Romero.

EJERCITO – He’s a chemical engineering graduate of UP, but ended up producing movies for the family studio and other production outfits.

Jesse Ejercito launched to stardom Alma Moreno, Elizabeth Oropesa, Lorna Tolentino, Amy Austria, Rio Locsin, Chanda Romero, Daria Ramirez, Beth Bautista, Emily Loren, Janet Bordon. They were billed Jesse’s Belles.

His favorite director was Ishmael Bernal.

Piolo Pascual’s first starring role was produced by Papa Jesse, the acclaimed “Lagarista,” directed by Mel Chionglo and written by Ricky Lee. “Lagarista” remains one of the best films of Piolo…if not the best.